From the offset it’s clear that Lykke Li’s fifth studio album, Eyeye, is a memoire of her heartbreak. The Swedish singer and songwriter lays her soul bare during the eight-track record and takes us on her journey through misery. Gone are the days of her catchy hits spanning the folk, R&B, pop & dance genres, and now all that’s left are slow, moody melodies and cries for help.
Eyeye has a much more intimate feel, especially when you know that Li recorded the vocals in her bedroom. The album opens with No Hotel, a soft guitar melody where Li is diving into her memories wishing she could go back to happier times. This is reflected through her emotive lyrics such as ‘It’s cracking dawn, street soaking wet / I’m on your doorstep, not losing yet’ as well as the sound effects of a tape being rewound. Similar imagery continues in Highway To Your Heart, where Li blends elements of synth-pop and light cymbals with her desperation to find her way back to her lover, ‘Is there a highway to your heart?’.
As we move through the record, Eyeye becomes a welcome fusion of cinematic imagery and music. In 5D, Li sings ‘Is it only in the movies you love me in 5D?’, an obvious reference to a 5D cinema, before wishing to be part of the movie in U&I, ‘Find me (in the movie) / Love me (in the movie)’. Li also laces the record with sound effects such as crickets in You Don’t Go Away and white noise in U&I, adding to the cinematic experience.
Li continues her exploration of film with an audio-visual experience that pairs with the album. Li has starred in seven short video loops directed by Theo Lindquist and filmed by Edu Grau for the record. The scenes are clips which tell part of a story which could make up a movie, telling a story of beauty, pain and emotion, through scenes such as dancing, drinking, violence, and death – turning Eyeye into a true cinematic piece.
It’s hard not to appreciate the raw beauty of Eyeye and Li’s ability to paint her emotions into her music – an honest representation of heartache. The audio-visual experience is a bold move from Li, but a risk that pays off well. Although it does take a certain frame of mind to truly appreciate Li’s sombre album, which may get lost in translation for those who are looking for something more upbeat.